By Press Office 09 June 2015

A Scottish university has joined forces with a high profile boutique hotel group to provide its hospitality and tourism students with outstanding employability and financial support.

The award-winning Dakota Hotels is offering annual internships and financial sponsorship to students on Queen Margaret University's (QMU) hospitality and tourism degree programme.

This partnership development makes an important contribution to QMU's links with industry and helps to strengthen its already robust employability strategy.

QMU's hospitality division has been working with Dakota Hotels for several years. The University awarded Ken McCulloch, the group's founder and chairman, with an honorary doctorate in 2007. Dakota Hotels has also provided undergraduate internships to several hospitality and tourism students and, more recently, has welcomed two QMU graduates onto its Graduate Development Programme.

The new awards will be launched at QMU graduation ceremony which will be held on the 10th July in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. The Dakota Achievement Sponsorship will be presented to the hospitality and tourism student with the most innovative undergraduate dissertation. Dakota's postgraduate award will be made to the student who has demonstrated the most entrepreneurial thinking and approach to their dissertation or project. Masters students studying an MSc International Management & Leadership, and MBA Hospitality students for the academic year of 2014/2015, will receive their award from Dakota when results on their industry-based Community and Business Impact Project are released.

Independent hotelier, Ken McCulloch, said: "Dakota has been delighted to support and work alongside QMU. We share mutual respect and an understanding that we must provide the opportunity for ambitious individuals who have committed to learning the foundations of hospitality, to enter our industry with the strongest possible platform for them to achieve great success. Our industry needs enthusiastic, talented graduates who have a genuine passion for delivering service and this sponsorship seeks to award their commitment thus far."

Bernie Quinn, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism at QMU, concluded: "This is another exciting development in the relationship between QMU and Dakota hotels. Our students are already benefitting greatly from the opportunities provided by Dakota and these prizes provide both great incentive and rewards which recognise the exceptional endeavours of our graduating students."

Notes to Editor

Dakota Hotels

A dynamic young company, who thinks big. Our brand currently has two properties; Dakota Edinburgh and Dakota EuroCentral, with two properties confirmed to open during 2016. Learn more about who we are at www.dakotahotels.co.uk

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

QMU offer students a small and friendly community environment where our thoroughly relevant teaching and research are designed to meet the changing needs of students, employers and society.

We have widely recognised expertise in health & rehabilitation, sustainable business and creativity & culture. Further information about QMU can be found at: www.qmu.ac.uk

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh on E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk; T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239

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